Spartans hope to have more fun
The operative word for Rocori football is fun.
The Spartans have fun in practice, blasting the sound system with rowdy music. They look like they have a lot of fun in games, running a no-huddle spread with an emphasis on flash and flare.
“The spread is a fun offense to run,” senior quarterback Tim Hansen said, re-iterating the obvious.
They seem to have fun on defense, where they rely on quickness and technique to make up for a lack of size.
“We’re pretty relaxed,” senior tackle Scott Fischer said. “We have a lot of fun.”
But last year?
Last year was no fun.
The Spartans went 1-4 in the Central Lakes South and 3-7 overall. They gave up lots of points, 34.6 per game. They went through quarterbacks like changing bed sheets, about once every couple of weeks because of injuries and just to shake things up.
“It was rough,” senior defensive back Alex Budde said.
“I don’t want a season like last year to be the way we go out,” senior Victor Schleppenbach said.
The upside is they played lots of guys and many of them return.
“We’ve got a lot experience this year,” senior tackle Scott Fischer said. “It’s like we played a lot to prepare for this year.”
Experience is nice, but they’ve also worked on their attitude and preparation.
They suggest that they might not have been 100 percent focused and prepared as a group last year. .
They did a team camp at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, to hone their skills and, as a side benefit, improve their bonding. They think all of that will help them turn things around.
Why? “Ambition,” senior defensive lineman Jack Feldhege said as his teammates laughed.
Feldhege is sort of the definition of fun. He’s all over the field defensively and will be one of the Spartans’ key linemen.
Another key will be Budde. He’s quick and fast and though he isn’t listed as a starter on offense in the preseason, count on him being a key player.
He led the Spartans with 39 receptions last season and should also run the ball and maybe even throw it on occasion when Rocori lines up in some variation of the wildcat offense. He’s being recruited by small Division I and Division II schools and can scoot.
He ran a 4.78-second 40-yard dash in the Rocori Challenge. It was electronically timed.
Then, there’s receiver Sam Mackedanz, who should also be a huge factor just because of his athleticism. He has a 36-inch vertical jump. Hansen earned the No. 1 spot on the quarterback depth chart. Skippy Virchow, who started a lot last year, also is in the picture and Budde also is there.
They’ll have decent size on the line, with left guard Tyler Botten (6-4, 310) the one bringing up its average size.
Head coach Mike Rowe likes his team and thinks it will compete well.
And that should be fun.